07 July 2007

Sky Islands

My Southern Arizona home is a place of mountainous wonder. Simply stepping out the back door affords a breathtaking view to which I have become accustomed.

Looking out over the dividing walls in the backyard (typical of a Sierra Vista housing community), the range which is immediately visible are the Huachuca (Wa-chuke-ah) Mountains. The Huachucas are a chain of veritable sky islands, peaks rising nearly one mile above the surrounding desert floor.

Typical southwestern sky-islands, the Huachucas poke into the clouds, drawing moisture and coolness, but are separated from other nearby ranges by an ocean of desert. [read article]

I love the sky island metaphor--it is entirely appropriate. Having hiked the two highest peaks in the Huachucas, I can say that looking down upon the Mexican-American borderlands is a unique experience. The upper portions of the mountains are predominately shaded by Ponderosa Pines and the land far below is flat, arid desert.


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